Dear Readers: Thanks for your questions about why this post changed. Some readers in my local market read something into the illustrative case (now deleted) that simply was not there. I don't say that to insult them - once any of us thinks we know what someone really meant, right or wrong, it's hard to shake it. Nonetheless, I didn't feel the illustration was worth the controversy. So, I took it down. The take away from the data below is this: by not correctly gaging what we're worth and not negotiating salaries, women are more likely than men to depress their salaries over a lifetime. So, when we see the national statistics about women making an average of 76% of what men in the same jobs earn, there is a certain amount of behavioral culpability we have to take in changing that equation. The balance of the post is below:
Something to consider:
Men initiate negotiations about four times more often than women. The reason is simple: women are more likely (2.5x) to be uncomfortable negotiating. Many don't even know where to begin. In a recent study, when asked to pick metaphors for negotiations, men picked "winning a ballgame" and a "wrestling match," while women picked "going to the dentist."
The impact of our discomfort is ... in a word ... disastrous.
By not negotiating a first salary, women stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60.
We often don't recognize what we're losing even in the moment. Women tend to be more grateful - to be happy to have received the job offer. One reason is we don't know our market value: women reported salary expectations between 3 and 32 percent lower than those of men for the same job. Men expect to earn 13 percent more during their first year of full-time work and 32 percent more at their career peak.
So, what to do?
- Build your value: Emphasize the benefits of your skills and experience in the interview
- Do your research: Know what you're worth in your market with your experience and find out what you can about how the agency rewards its employees
- Let the agency bring up salary first: Avoid being the first one to throw out a number and avoid filling out salary history questions
- Know what you want: Is it 10% more in salary? Is it an extra week of vacation? Be ready to ask for the compensation that you really desire
- Be quiet: When the new boss first makes an offer, nod as if you are considering it and keep quiet. Resist the natural urge to basically gush with effusive thanks
- Take the night to think about: Come back with a reasonable counter offer clearly stated
- Don't be emotional: Or take it personally. At this point, business is business